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CETA Agreement Rejected: A New Vote Scheduled in May

28 March 2024

Translated into English by Nathalie Parent Dumoulin, NEXT Edition, member of WI&NE Nouvelle-Aquitaine

CETA is a free-trade agreement between Canada and the EU finalized in 2014. This agreement has implemented 95% of its measures, including significant customs duties and regulations reductions and a special tribunal for European companies investing in Canada.

However, on March 21, French senators rejected the CETA, a significant setback for the wine and spirits export industry. The Fédération des Exportateurs de Vins et Spiritueux (FEVS) has expressed disappointment at this decision: “It is clear that the CETA is a crucial agreement for encouraging trade and investment between Canada and the EU, and its rejection is a significant blow to businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Proponents of CETA assert that the treaty would unlock new export opportunities for French producers, enabling them to conquer the Canadian market. They emphatically state that Canada is a highly profitable market for French wines, with a burgeoning demand for luxury goods. Additionally, they contend that CETA would streamline trade by slashing tariff and non-tariff barriers, thereby propelling the competitiveness of French wines in the Canadian market.

Gabriel Picard (FEVS) boldly warned the senators who rejected CETA that “they must explain why they are cutting off a significant outlet at a time when some vineyards are experiencing real difficulties.”

It is important to note that despite several years of growth, foreign sales of French wines, champagnes, cognacs, and other spirits plummeted by 6% in 2023, with Canada being one of the countries hit the hardest.

The potential impact of CETA on French wine exports to Canada has sparked a passionate debate in the wine industry, with legitimate concerns being raised. While some may support the commercial prospects of this agreement, others fear it may distort competition. This issue needs to be addressed with urgency to protect the interests of the French wine industry.

As we move towards a global economy, we must find a way to strike a balance between international trade and the unique characteristics of French wine growing. We must preserve French wines’ rich heritage and distinct flavors amidst global trade pressures.

So, the question remains: How can we achieve this delicate balance?

Translated into English by Nathalie Parent Dumoulin, founder of NEXT Edition and a WI&NE Nouvelle-Aquitaine member. https://www.wi-ne.net/en/nos_experts/nathalie-parent-dumoulin-2/

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